Puppy (Or New Dog) Behavior Surprises – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Email: [email protected]

Puppies can surprise you. Many people are surprised to find out that the new puppy or adult dog is biting them, barking, whining, running wildly, breaking things, getting into your stuff, destroying the back yard, scaring the kids, bothering guests, making a mess, chewing on things, pottying in the home, jumping on the kids, pestering the older dog, won’t listen to anything they’re told, won’t sleep through the night, and wearing every out.

From there, dog owners typically follow one of the following 3 paths:

1.) They do the necessary work, and the dog turns out great
2.) They do a half baked effort, and the dog turns out to be a hassle because of a number of behavioral problems, with regular arguments in the home over the discipline of the dog
3.) They get rid of the dog. Lots of dogs die in shelters, yet many people would rather wash their hands of the “problem”, blaming the dog, than acknowledge that they aren’t being responsible or kind to the dog

If you’ve gotten this far, then I’m sure you want to be on Path #1, right? Of course you do!!

The Right Breed… Or Close To It: The first thing you need to learn about is what kind of breed or mix will best fit the temperament of the people in your home, and your type of lifestyle. I don’t recommend getting a dog that is only good for one person in the home and not good for the other people in the home. At the time I wrote this article, I was recently divorced and without a dog. So, being a single guy, I could get just about any breed for my needs and that would be that. The dogs that best fit my temperament and lifestyle are the protection breeds (German Shepherd Dog, Malinois, Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Doberman, Bullmastiff, etc.). On the other hand, I have come to see that most women (and yes, I am looking for that right person again) aren’t really into that of breed. I also have to consider that I’m self employed, I work in the desert, and I like the outdoors (especially hiking), but I also like a social household (friends and guests over for a ballgame, bbq, swim, and so forth), and not all breeds do well here in this Phoenix climate. So, as a compromise, I’m considering maybe picking a different type of breed, so as to also have a social life, a home, sometime in the future. So, I’m no different than you are, I need the right dog for my home, and it can’t be just about me. There isn’t the “perfect dog”. Ever. But, you can at least make a good effort at getting the right dog for you.

The Right Puppy or Adult Dog: The ideal age for getting a puppy is between 8 and 10 weeks of age. If I’m getting an older dog, then I prefer the dog to be at least 2 years old. If the dog is a different age, then you should get expert help to evaluate the dog, both for health (veterinarian check up) and temperament (evaluation by a behaviorist).  I’m looking for a well bred, healthy, confident, happy, dog. I want a dog that represents the best qualities of the breed(s) that make up any dog coming into my home. Yes, there is more to it than that, and I’ve written a number of other articles on how to select a dog.

Educating Yourself: We don’t start driving a car without being instructed first. We don’t get hired to work with kids in a public school without demonstrating the necessary background in teaching. And… you get the idea. Right from the start, you should be educating yourself as to how to head off behavioral problems. I’ve already mentioned the big ones: biting, chewing, potty training, etc. It is a huge mistake to be reacting to problems instead of working a well thought out training program. Just a few days of mistreatment, even if you didn’t mean it to happen, can seriously harm a dog for the rest of its life. Traumas are NOT forgotten, especially with young puppies, or during the first weeks any dog is brought into your home. I’m surprised that most people hire a dog trainer after they get a dog instead of before they get a dog. The people have already started messing up the dog, and then they want the trainer to come in and do miracles. It doesn’t always work out that way. Once that dog is in your home, what happens from there is now most going to be what you do, or don’t do, with that dog.

Educating Yourself About Your Particular Dog: I do a lot of observations of a dog along the way. I make no assumptions. I want to see what this dog is all about before I apply any serious training. Yes, there are some basics that can and should be done from the moment the dog comes to your home, but beyond that, it is important to see what your dog is telling you, who she is, what she wants, and what her particular quirks might be. I regularly see people scolding untrained dogs. The dog has no idea what is being asked of it, but it does know it is in trouble, and is made to be afraid of its family. Not good. Not good at all.

Training Your Dog: Training should start from the very first moment you interact with your dog. Just because your dog isn’t in a class doesn’t mean your dog isn’t learning anything! On the contrary, your dog is learning all the time. It is better have a relationship with a professional dog trainer that can check up on your progress all along the way. It would be ideal to involve a trainer before you even get a dog; when you select the breeder or rescue group; when selecting the particular puppy; when selecting reading materials and supplies; when the dog first comes in the door; for house training, manners and obedience lessons.

You DO have control of how all this turns out. It doesn’t have to be a gamble. That is, if you don’t let yourself be surprised.